|Single by The Vapors|
|from the album New Clear Days|
|Format||7" square record, 45RPM, CD|
|Genre||New wave, power pop|
|The Vapors singles chronology|
"Turning Japanese" is a song released by the English band The Vapors from their album New Clear Days, and the song for which they are known best. The song's lyrics consist mainly of the singer talking about pictures of his love. Musically, the song features an Oriental riff played on guitar.
Songwriter David Fenton explains: "Turning Japanese is all the clichés about angst and youth and turning into something you didn't expect to."
The band knew they had a success with "Turning Japanese", so much so that they waited until their second single before releasing it, fearing that if they released it as their first they would become "one-hit wonders", but they never matched its success.
"Turning Japanese" was believed to euphemistically refer to masturbation—i.e. the act causing the man to squint and therefore resemble a Japanese's person's eyes—but the song's author Fenton denied that claim in an interview on VH1. "It could have been (turning) Portuguese, Lebanese, anything that fitted with that phrase. It has nothing to do with the Japanese." "The first time the idea of masturbation came up was when we were touring America. It was written about that 'turning Japanese' was an English phrase for masturbation, which it wasn't."
Guitarist Rob Kemp went on to say, "It's a love song about somebody who had lost their girlfriend and was going slowly crazy, turning Japanese is just all the cliches of our angst... turning into something you never expected to."
Chart performance 
|Australian ARIA Charts||1|
|Canadian Singles Chart||7|
|New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart||9|
|UK Singles Chart||3|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||36|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs||34|
- http://www.digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_songs-newave.html 26. Turning Japanese - The Vapors
- http://www.allmusic.com/song/turning-japanese-mt0011406870 "the giddy power pop rush of the song itself"
- http://toponehitwonders.com/1980s/one-hit-wonders-of-1980/ "In our opinion, one of the all-time great one-hit wonders and a power pop classic."
- ""Turning Japanese"". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- Davis, Andy (undated). "On the Vapor-trail". (unidentified publisher). Retrieved 2008-06-23.
- [dead link]
- AllMusic | Turning Japanese | The Vapors
"Tired of Toein' the Line" by Rocky Burnette
|Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
June 23, 1980 – June 30, 1980
"Can't Stop the Music" by Village People